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Bostonia: The Alumni Magazine of Boston University

Fall 2008

He's Key

Master Locksmith is Still Opening Doors at BU

| From Commonwealth | By Caleb Daniloff

Gerard D'Arcy has been fixing BU locks for thirty years. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky

"I remember once, in West Campus, two boys were supposedly locked in a room with two girls," says Gerard D'Arcy, lead locksmith at Boston University. "I went over and knocked on the door. I just opened it, and the girls looked at the boys and said, ‘Hey, you told us you couldn't get out.'"

D'Arcy has been repairing, replacing, installing, and popping locks all over BU for the past thirty years. "Ninety percent of all the lock information on campus is in Gerry's head," says William Walter, BU's assistant vice president for facilities management. "Before there were computers, there was Gerry."

D'Arcy was just two weeks off the boat from Galway, Ireland, when he started at BU as a custodian in 1958.

The introduction of swipe-card locks was a big change on campus, D'Arcy says, but what staggers him most is the University's growth. When he started, BU had only a half-dozen or so buildings. Today, almost 400 structures are scattered over both campuses, and BU houses some 11,000 students and rental tenants.

"Think of it as two-and-a-half to three locks per person," he says. "Each person on campus has a door and a desk. The students have a door and a mailbox. That's a lot of locks."

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